Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell names new Parks & Recreation Director

D. Tyrell McGirt
D. Tyrell McGirt


After a national search, City Manager Debra Campbell is excited to announce that D. Tyrell McGirt will become  Asheville’s next Parks & Recreation Director. McGirt succeeds Roderick Simmons, who retired earlier this year, after 14 years with the City. His first day on the job will be January 24.


McGirt comes to Asheville from his latest assignment as Parks & Recreation Director for Pelham, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. During his time in Pelham he increased gender and racial diversity of new hires by 50 percent, led the department through a community needs and strategic planning process and re-established the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board. Prior to that McGirt served as Parks & Recreation Deputy Director for the Town of Marana, Ariz.


He has roots in North Carolina however, having earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro. Following that McGirt went on to earn a Master of Public Administration from the University of Alaska in Juneau.


I have had some amazing opportunities over the course of my career but none more exciting than returning home to North Carolina to do what I love,” McGirt said. “Parks, trails, recreation programs, and facilities have the ability to transform communities and improve the quality of life for all citizens.  I look forward to joining the Parks & Recreation team and getting involved in the Asheville community.” 


“In D. McGirt, Asheville has found a Parks & Recreation Director with not only a passion for athletics, sports and community but also someone driven to incorporate diversity and inclusion into his processes,” said Campbell. “That’s a great fit for where we are headed as a City.”


About Asheville Parks & Recreation

Established in 1954, the  Asheville Parks & Recreation Department manages a unique collection of more than 55 public parks, playgrounds, and open spaces throughout the city in a system that also includes full-complex recreation centers, swimming pools, Asheville Municipal Golf Course, WNC Nature Center, Riverside Cemetery, sports fields and courts, and community centers that offer a variety of wellness-, education-, and culture-related programs for Ashevillians of all ages. With 8 miles of paved greenways and numerous natural surface trails, its complete portfolio acts as the foundation of a vibrant hub for the people of Asheville to connect with their neighbors and explore the natural beauty of a livable and walkable city.

With an annual budget of nearly $13.3 million, the department has 117 full-time staff and over 100 temporary/seasonal team members. Driven by the promise that Asheville is a better and safer place when everyone from infants to retirees has the opportunity to be supported, healthy, and successful, Asheville Parks & Recreation was the first nationally-accredited municipal recreation department in the United States.